YVETTE HEYLIGER: Playwright, Producing Artist, Educator & Activist

YVETTE HEYLIGER: Producing artist/playwright/educator/activist; AUDELCO Recognition Award for Excellence in Black Theatre’s August Wilson Playwright Award; Best Playwright nomination, NAACP’s Annual Theatre Awards; author What a Piece of Work is Man! Full-Length Plays for Leading Women; contributor Later Chapters: The Best Scenes and Monologues for Actors over Fifty, The Monologue Project, 24 Gun Control Plays, The Best Women’s Stage Monologues 2003 and The Best Stage Scenes 2003; blog, The Playwright and the Patron; one-woman show, Bridge to Baraka, recently performed in the United Solo Theatre Festival on Theatre Row; Twinbiz™ partner and co-recipient National Black Theatre Festival Emerging Producer Award; Dramatist Guild, AEA, SDC, and AFTRA-SAG; Theatre Resources Unlimited and League of Professional Theatre Women; lives in Harlem, USA.  Read Yvette’s NativeAdVantage interview HERE.

My Goal of the Day:  To read and reflect on a piece of scripture or inspirational message and then sit for meditation BEFORE turning on the news.  I think that the twenty-four hour news cycle is one of the worst things to happened.to the “civilized” world.  It’s like a car accident—you just can’t look away, as much as you may want to.  More often than not, I find myself upset the rest of the day and for this reason I see the wisdom in setting boundaries for what I let in.  I must reclaim my mornings and Sundays to rejuvenate and cultivate inner peace.  

My Thought of the Day:  Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you. — Philippians 4:8 – 9

My Action of the Day: My husband and I are celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary by returning to our roots—engaging in the spiritual practices which provided a foundation for our marriage and family life.  We are taking an “unstructured personal retreat” at a former monastery upstate.  The only requirement is that participants practice silence—the rest is up to you.  So, we have planned to do the practices of contemplation, meditation, chanting and yoga (it’s been a couple years since I’ve done and physical postures—pray for me!); while eating healthy, delicious meals and walking the labyrinth, as well as the different foot paths around the grounds.  I’m looking forward to taking action to get some pressing projects off my plate today, so that I can focus on reconnecting to the spiritual path that brought my husband and me together thirty-some-odd-years ago.  

What do you love most about Your City? 

I love that New York City is the mecca of theatre.  I also love that you don’t need a car to get around.  You can travel anywhere, at any time—day or night—because we have such an extensive public transportation system here.

Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant? 

My favorite breakfast is prepared and served at Chez Yvette (my house!)—either French toast made with raisin bread, or whole wheat pancakes with fresh blueberries; scrambled eggs, vegetarian sausage or bacon; and a glass of cold milk with a little orange juice on the side to take my multi-vitamin, a B Complex (or equivalent), and an ibuprofen (for my knees).  

What are you doing at:  

6:00 AM – Fixing my husband’s lunch (and sometimes his breakfast) to take to work.  

10:00 AM – Catching up on emails or working on a play or writing project.

12:00 PM - Favorite Lunch spot/meal? 

At noon I am usually still working on the computer and am worried about how “sitting is the new smoking”; knowing that I should get up and do something physical “after I finish this last sentence” or “send this last email” (but seldom do).  If it is Friday and I am in Brooklyn, I like to stop in this little non-descript, hole-in-the-wall pizzeria/salad place and order a kale salad…Mmmmm, so good!  

7:00 PM – Watching Chris Matthews and the whole line-up of liberal MSNBC pundits in the evening while eating dinner (really bad, I know!).

11:00 PM – Sleeping on the couch next to my husband (who is also sleeping) with the television going.

What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?

I must have caffeine in the morning, preferably chai or French Vanilla café—two cups.  At night I usually have two beers or two glasses of red wine while cooking or with dinner.

Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account? 

I don’t use apps, although I am thinking the MTA Transit App for NYC that tells you schedules and real-time arrivals for buses, subways, LIRR and MetroNorth trains would be beneficial to have.  

What should everyone try at least once?

Everyone should try walking in another man’s shoes—at least once.

Where do you enjoy getting lost?

I enjoy getting lost in a book.

My Deed of the Day: To recycle the bottles and cans that have been piling up at home and turn them in—not so much for the 5¢ bottle deposit, but to do my part to help the environment.

My Tip of the Day: Take your children to visit museums and to the performing arts (dance, theatre, music concerts, etc.).  Early exposure to the arts greatly enriches a child’s life; fostering creativity, empathy and a life-long patronage of the arts.  And VOTE! If they succeed in silencing journalists, artists are next!

My Pic of the Day:

With family and friends after seeing The Lion King on Broadway (l - r): yours truly Yvette, my husband Donald and grandson Zelalem; Nteliseng Nkhela (RAFIKI); Zelalem’s parents, my son-in-law Fitsum and oldest daughter Stella; and our friends Surya and her mother Tiffany.  Proceeds from this photo went to benefit Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDS.